††††† 201 KAR 31:090. Complaint management process.
††††† RELATES TO: KRS 322A.030(6), (7), (8), 322A.100(1)-(5)
††††† STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 322A.030(5)
††††† NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 322A.030(8) allows any person or organization to prefer charges of fraud, deceit, gross negligence, or misconduct against any registrant, certificant, or applicant. KRS 322A.090(2) prohibits any person not registered by the board from practicing geology or using or otherwise assuming in any way any title or description tending to convey the impression that the person is a registered geologist. This administrative regulation establishes procedures for the investigation of a complaint received by the board.
††††† Section 1. Definitions. (1) "Chair" means the chair or vice-chair of the board.
††††† (2) "Charge" means a specific allegation contained in a formal complaint, as established in subsection (4) of this section, issued by the board alleging a violation of a specified provision of KRS Chapter 322A or the administrative regulations promulgated thereunder.
††††† (3) "Complaints committee" means the committee appointed pursuant to Section 7 of this administrative regulation.
††††† (4) "Formal complaint" means a formal administrative pleading authorized by the board which sets forth charges against a registrant, certificant, applicant, or other person and commences a formal disciplinary proceeding pursuant to KRS Chapter 13B or requests the court to take appropriate action.
††††† (5) "Informal proceeding" means a proceeding instituted before, during, or after the disciplinary process with the intent of reaching a dispensation of a matter without further recourse to formal disciplinary procedures under KRS Chapter 13B or appropriate relief in the courts.
††††† (6) "Initiating complaint" means a written allegation alleging possible misconduct by a credentialed individual or other person which might constitute a violation of KRS Chapter 322A or the administrative regulations promulgated thereunder.
††††† (7) "Investigator" means an individual designated by the board to assist the board in the investigation of a complaint or an investigator employed by the Attorney General or the board.
††††† (8) "Registrant" means a "registered geologist" or a "geologist-in-training" as defined by KRS 322A.010(4) and (7).
††††† Section 2. Receipt of Initiating Complaints. (1)(a) An initiating complaint may be submitted by an individual, organization, or entity.
††††† (b) An initiating complaint shall be in writing and shall be signed by the person offering the initiating complaint.
††††† (c) The board may file an initiating complaint based on information in its possession.
††††† (2) Upon receipt of an initiating complaint.
††††† (a) A copy of the initiating complaint shall be sent to the individual named in the initiating complaint, along with a request for that individualís response to the initiating complaint.
††††† (b) The individual shall submit a written response within twenty (20) days from the date of receipt.
††††† Section 3. Initial Review. (1)(a) After the receipt of an initiating complaint and the expiration of the period for the individualís response, the complaints committee shall consider the initiating complaint, the individualís response, and other relevant material available and make a recommendation to the board.
††††† (b) The board shall determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a formal investigation of the initiating complaint.
††††† (2) If, in the opinion of the board, an initiating complaint does not warrant a formal investigation of the initiating complaint, the board shall dismiss the initiating complaint and shall notify both the complaining party and the individual of the outcome of the initiating complaint.
††††† (3) If, in the opinion of the board, an initiating complaint warrants a formal investigation against either a registered individual or a person who may be practicing without appropriate credential, the board shall authorize an investigator to investigate the matter and make a report to the complaints committee at the earliest opportunity.
††††† Section 4. Results of Formal Investigation; Board Decision on Hearing. (1)(a) Upon completion of the formal investigation, the investigator shall submit a report to the complaints committee of the facts regarding the initiating complaint.
††††† (b) The complaints committee shall review the investigative report and make a recommendation to the board.
††††† (c) The bard shall determine whether there is enough evidence to believe that a violation of the law or administrative regulations may have occurred and whether a formal complaint shall be filed.
††††† (2)(a) If, in the opinion of the board, an initiating complaint does not warrant the issuance of a formal complaint and the holding of a hearing, the initiating complaint shall be dismissed or other appropriate action taken.
††††† (b) The board shall notify both the complaining party and the individual of the outcome of the initiating complaint.
††††† (3)(a) When in the opinion of the board an initiating complaint warrants the issuance of a formal complaint against a registrant, the complaints committee shall prepare a formal complaint which states clearly the charge or charges to be considered at the hearing.
††††† (b) The formal complaint shall be signed by the chair or designee and served upon the individual as required by KRS 13B.040.
††††† (4) If, in the opinion of the board, a person may be practicing without appropriate credential, the board may:
††††† (a) Issue a letter ordering that person to cease and desist from the uncredentialed practice of geology or using any words or phrases prohibited by KRS 322A.090(2); or
††††† (b) Forward information to the county attorney of the county of residence of the person allegedly practicing without appropriate credential with a request that appropriate action be taken under KRS 322A.990(1)-(2).
††††† Section 5. Settlement by Informal Proceedings; Letter of Admonishment. (1) The board, through counsel and the complaints committee, may enter into informal proceedings with the individual who is the subject of the initiating complaint for the purpose of appropriately dispensing with the matter.
††††† (a) An agreed order or settlement reached through this process shall be approved by the board and signed by the individual who is the subject of the initiating complaint.
††††† (b) The board may employ mediation as a method of resolving the matter informally.
††††† (2)(a) The board may issue a written admonishment to the registrant if in the judgment of the board:
††††† 1. An alleged violation is not of a serious nature; and
††††† 2. The evidence presented to the board after the investigation and appropriate opportunity for the registrant to respond, provides a clear indication that the alleged violation did in fact occur.
††††† (b) A copy of the admonishment shall be placed in the permanent file of the registrant.
††††† (c) Within thirty (30) days of receipt of a written admonishment, the registrant may file:
††††† 1. A response to the written admonishment which shall be placed in the registrantís permanent file; or
††††† 2. A request for hearing with the board. Upon receipt of this request, the board shall set aside the written admonishment and set the matter for hearing pursuant to the provisions of KRS Chapter 13B.
††††† Section 6. Notice and Service Process. A notice required by KRS Chapter 322A or this administrative regulation shall be issued pursuant to KRS 13B.040.
††††† Section 7. Complaints Committee. The Complaints Committee shall:
††††† (1) Be appointed by the chair of the board to:
††††† (a) Review an initiating complaint or investigative report; and
††††† (b) Participate in an informal proceeding to resolve a formal complaint;
††††† (2) Consist of two (2) board members, who may be assisted by board staff, an investigator, and counsel. (32 Ky.R. 1013; 1225; eff. 2-3-2006.)